There’s so much to talk about based on yesterday’s action at both the Super 16 and the Rockland County Championships, and I think I’ve got just the place to do it. I’ll be hosting another live LoHud Wrestling Chat on Monday night at 7:30, so tell your mother, tell your father and tell your friends!
With the chat in mind, I’m going to be a bit more brief than usual today because I’ve got a big Sunday on tap. We’re throwing a surprise birthday party for my aunt (I sure hope she doesn’t check the blog this morning) and many moves still need to be made. But I did want to address what has been a hot topic this week: The false notion that the RCCs were much more competitive than the Super 16. Granted, many of the top wrestlers from Westchester and Putnam were not at the Super 16, but take a look at the how the champs from each tournament might fare if they faced off. Some would be very close matches, but I relied on recent history and overall body of work when determining a hypothetical winner.
99 – Brandon Fay (Fox Lane) over James Kelly (Pearl River)
106 – Jon Errico (Byram Hills) over Marlon Borge (North Rockland)
113 – Mike Menzer (Center Moriches) over Derek DiMarsico (North Rockland)
120 – John Muldoon (Pearl River) over Scott Rodrigues (Fox Lane)
126 – Alex Oliveto (Suffern) over Joe Maida (Harrison)
132 – Ben Ettlinger (Fox Lane) over Jake DiMarsico (North Rockland)
138 – Drew Longo (Ardsley) over Matt Caputo (North Rockland)
145 – James DeSimone (Suffern) over David Polakoff (Harrison)
152 – Desmond Djekovic (Tappan Zee) over Josh Perlmutter (Hen Hud)
160 – Lance Perlmutter (Hen Hud) over Nick Didio (North Rockland)
170 – Adam Hofling (Sleepy Hollow) over Hassan Auwarter (Clarkstown South)
182 – Thomas Murray (Yorktown) over Austin Maurer (Clarkstown South)
195 – Paul Okeke (Clarkstown South) over Joe Fabrizio (Ketcham)
220 – Dan Breit (Nanuet) over Ryan Lewis (Center Moriches)
285 – Mike Manni (Tappan Zee) over Ray Strebel (Center Moriches)
Again, some of these matches could go either way (I’d sure like to see them), but you see where I’m going with this. There’s eight winners from the Super 16, and seven from the RCCs. I would make (and have made) the argument that Rockland is the strongest wrestling county in Section 1, but it’s a simple numbers game. With only nine teams in Rockland, there is much more depth on the other side of the river. The point is, both tournaments were difficult to win, and the champions from each deserve respect. That’s why I’ve alternated which one I’ve covered over the last three years.
The good news is that Adam Berger was on hand at Tappan Zee yesterday, and he had all of the action covered. I asked him to take videos of two of the more highly anticipated finals, and I took a bunch at Yonkers. Be sure to check out Adam’s story from the Rockland County Championships, and mine from the Super 16.
• One of the coolest things to me about the Super 16 (and the RCCs, for that matter) is that it gives some of the top wrestlers from D1 and D2 a chance to square off. A good matchup came in the 113-pound semis, where Hen Hud’s Mark Grant beat Croton-Harmon’s Andrew Barsuch in a convincing 15-4 major decision. Grant lost to Center Moriches’ Mike Menzer in the finals, but he’s definitely looking like a top three guy in the section in D1 to me.
• I wrote the other day about Fox Lane’s Ben Ettlinger being locked in at 132 after flirting with a move to 126, and he looked like he’s pretty focused on his way to a Super 16 title. I caught his semifinal match with Harrison’s Gavin Menchel, where Ettlinger was pretty dominant on his way to a technical fall. Of course, at the RCCs, North Rockland’s Jake DiMarsico also made it look pretty easy on his way to county title. Ettlinger beat him by one point earlier in the season, so I’m sure DiMarsico is hoping for a shot at redemption. “I’ve already wrestled Gavin twice this year. First match, it was close – 5-2 – but in the second match I pinned him. In this match, I knew I had to come out and do the same,” Ettlinger said. “I consider myself one of the contenders for a section title at that weight. I think it’s the place for me.”
• A guy who should be right near the top of the upcoming rankings at 220 is Mount Vernon’s David Watkins (pictured to the right). He has big wins over some of the top contenders in the section, and he picked up another one with his pin of Mahopac’s Ryan Delahanty in the semifinals at the Super 16. Watkins was actually losing 6-4 at the time of the pin, but you can see his strength and explosiveness. He lost a close one to Center Moriches’ Ryan Lewis in the finals, 3-1, but he was really pushing the pace. I thought Lewis could have been hit with a stall call near the end. While Nanuet’s Dan Breit is clearly the dominant force at 220 in the section, the top D1 contender from Rockland at 220 is RCC finalist John Hartnett of Tappan Zee.
• Saturday was a big day for Byram Hills’ Jon Errico, who was able to exact some revenge in the 106-pound final. He had lost to Fox Lane’s Matt Grippi at the Shoreline, and it was a loss that didn’t seem to sit well. As Errico said to me, “I just can’t lose to a seventh grader” again, and he didn’t. He was in control for his entire match against Grippi at the Super 16, working towards an eventual third period pin. “I knew he has great, great hips, and the second that I drop to mine, he would hop over,” Errico said. “That’s how he beat me at Shoreline, but I just really kept the pressure forward, forward on my toes. He got me once, but I knew how to not get hit with it again.”
• Another big D1-D2 matchup came in the 138-pound final. Ardsley’s Drew Longo had beaten Sleepy Hollow’s Edwin Jimenez by one point earlier in the season, but he left little doubt on Saturday. Longo cruised to a 7-1 decision, staking his claim as the best 138-pounder that the section has to offer. Remember, he beat Rockland county champ Matt Caputo of North Rockland at Eastern States.
• While Longo took one for the D2 guys at 138, Hen Hud’s Josh Perlmutter (pictured to the left) won one for the big guys at 152. Reigning D2 section champ Brett Pastore of Irvington got in on Perlmutter’s leg a few times in the Super 16 final, but Perlmutter is so strong and extremely hard to take down. Pastore wasn’t able to finish on any of his shots, and Perlmutter was able to pick up two crucial points in the third period for a 2-1 decision. Josh’s twin brother Lance Perlmutter also won a Super 16 title at 160 pounds. “He’s definitely really tough. He was really good on bottom, and just overall a tough kid,” Josh said of Pastore. “Once he got in, I was really just trying to sprawl back hard and then catch an ankle or something to make sure that he wasn’t able to get two points. Once I got the two points, I was really just trying to keep him down and not cut him so he wouldn’t get a point.”
• Perhaps the biggest bounce back performance of the day came from Sleepy Hollow’s Adam Hofling. The sophomore had a tough time last weekend at the Kohl, but he showed some maturity with a title at 170 at the Super 16. Hofling came through with a convincing 10-2 major decision over Mahopac’s Aaron Gallagher in the finals, and seemed to have a pretty good outlook on how he needs to go about his business moving forward. “I changed my attitude, because I felt like after I beat (Mamaroneck’s Dion) Duran, I got a little cocky,” he said. “I started sleeping on kids who were unranked who I hadn’t heard of and looking at NWCA too much. I’m walking into the match treating every wrestler the same. Every opponent can be just as good as the one before, or better. It worked well for me today.”
• I asked Adam to shoot the RCC finals at 120 and 138. Pearl River’s John Muldoon avenged an OT loss to Nanuet’s Anthony Calvano with a 10-5 decision in the 120-pound final, while North Rockland’s Matt Caputo came up with his most convincing win yet over rival Colby Kash of Clarkstown North with 9-2 decision. Adam is uploading those videos now, so I’ll be back with another post once they’re up.
RCC photos from Skip Pearlman/Super 16 photos from Carucha L. Meuse